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Many European businesses failing to embrace Internet
An assessment of 13 million websites across Europe reveals many firms are failing to make the most of the opportunities presented by doing business online, and too many have no Internet presence at all.
It's hard to imagine that any business today does not have a website. However, when marketing firm Email-Brokers took a look at the current situation across Europe they found that many were yet to jump online.
Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands had the highest proportion of business online but even in these countries 40% of business was not. That's a considerable percentage in an age when much business and networking is being done on the Internet.
Companies that aren't online aren't helping economic growth and creating employment. The European Commission estimates that firms exploiting the Internet to its fullest also create, on average, more than twice as many jobs.
In terms of ecommerce, the UK and Liechtenstein were the most advanced - defined as being able to process orders and payments. In the UK 16% can carry out these processes and 17% in Liechtenstein, compared with just 6% in Belgium and 9% in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands.
However, while being online is a must, few are maintaining basic standards such as providing contact details, adequate company information or keeping a website up-to-date. In Belgium, despite the country having one of the highest proportions of business online, a whopping 91% of company websites failed to meet even these basic standards, compared with 20% in France and Luxembourg. More than 80% of business websites in Belgium, Greece, Italy and Spain had not been updated for more than a year.
"Sites which do not comply with such minimum standards do not inspire confidence and before buying something online a user will need a minimum level of confidence," said William Vande Wiele, head of Email-Brokers (via Reuters).
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